This book examines the social transformation wrought by the abolition of slavery in 1834 in South Africa's Cape Colony. It pays particular attention to the effects of socioeconomic and cultural changes in the way both freed slaves and dominant whites adjusted to the new world. It compares South Africa's relatively peaceful transition from a slave to a non-slave society to the bloody experience of the US South after abolition, analyzing rape hysteria in both places as well as the significance of changing concepts of honor in the Cape. Finally, the book examines the early development of South Africa's particular brand of racism, arguing that abolition, not slavery itself, was a causative factor; although racist attitudes were largely absent while slavery persisted, they grew incrementally but steadily after abolition, driven primarily by whites' need for secure, exploitable labor.
R. L. Watson is Professor Emeritus of History at North Carolina Wesleyan College. He is the author of The Slave Question: Liberty and Property in South Africa (1990) and South Africa in Pictures (1989). His articles have appeared in journals including the Journal of African History, the International Journal of African Historical Studies and the South African Historical Journal.
Introduction; Part I. THE FOUNDATIONS oF a RACIAL ORDER: 1. The passing of the slave system; 2. Labor and the economy; Part II. CULTURAL AND POLITICAL FACTORS: 3. Missions; 4. Respectability; 5. The frontier; 6. The trek; 7. Plagues; Part III. RAPE, rACE, AND VIOLENCE: 8. Violence; 9. Rape and other crimes; 10. Honor; Part IV. A RACIAL ORDER: 11. Sediment at the bottom of the mind; 12. An aristocracy of skin; Appendix.